Monday, February 7, 2011

Icy Formations ~ Mono Monday!

"Her Icy Face"  ~ Tiffany Falls, Hamilton, On
(1/2sec @ F/14, ISO 100, 28mm fl, 18-55mm Nikkor kit lens, tripod, pattern metering, ND filter)

I'd like to make a confession here on Mono Monday. Some will shake their heads when they read this, some will understand completely. But I feel I must be honest. So here goes.
I have lived in Canada my whole life. It's February. It's winter. And (taking a deep breath here...) I don't like it. Ah, there, I said it!!!! I know that out there in all the snow and ice are great photo ops but it requires putting on a thousand layers of clothing, tucking gear and batteries safely and warmly in any available crevice in said clothing, and wandering treacherous and slippery paths and locations with a tripod in one hand and a Timmie's coffee in the other. Often it's while my family tags along under the guise of sledding or only being out walking "for a sec". Ha, could only pull that one on them a handful of times before they got wise to me and started "disappearing" every time I suddenly hunted for snow pants in the back of the house.

Let's be honest, I'd much rather be out in the warmer weather, catching the tulip festival at the park, or driving back roads with the windows down and the tunes cranked looking for barns and farm gear to shoot. But having said all this, there is something to be said for winter photography. Despite all the extra work before I even get out to the car, despite the fact that every year pulling on the monster boots seems to wind me more and more, and despite the way my hubby looks at me when he realizes I need a walking buddy in -23 weather without the wind chill... despite all that, there's a treasure to be gleaned every time I head out to shoot. And it's this: YOU LEARN TO WORK FAST!

Shooting outdoors in the chilly Canadian weather (and yes, I'm aware there's chillier, don't get me wrong) forces you to work fast. Sum up a scene quickly, decide what's important to portray, to emphasize, and what to eliminate. Your composure skills are naturally honed when you know that the cold is eating at your battery, that your tripod adjust knobs are freezing in place, and that you've stopped feeling your feet. Your brain goes into adrenaline mode when you can hear your husbands teeth chattering from twenty feet away and you've only been on the trail for ten minutes. You realize you need to get those other angles NOW since once you get back in the car there's no way you're getting back out for that one forgotten shot. And you learn to think quickly about all the tools at your disposal. Filters are at the ready for the slow exposures of the trickling water still running through the icy rock face, the tripod doesn't leave your side, and your other lens is already waiting in your pocket for a very quick switch indeed while you have a plastic bag waiting for the other lens to defog in once your finished. And your settings! You learn to sum up the light real quick and no foolin' around in your menus, cause no matter how warm those gloves are, they're a pain to use when you have to push tiny buttons right?

See what I mean about working well but working quickly?
It's a good test of your natural skills... seeing how far you've come with your camera. Limited time means you have to harness all the things you should know without even really thinking them. You should try it. Just not with me. (little humor there... heh heh heh)

So all kidding aside... if you visit the cooler climates that require sled dogs and snow shoes, or simply live where you've shoveled another eight feet of snow out of your driveway for the fourth time (shovelers unite!) then make yourself get out there with the camera, give yourself twenty minutes to an hour to photograph, then go home to some winter stew and warm pj's and review how you did. You'll get a very clear picture of what you still need to remember, and what you excel at under pressure.
And how a frozen finger looks after you pry it off the shutter too fast...ouch.

Have a good Monday folks... and thanks for letting me ramble on! Tomorrow is our first Telephoto Tuesday! Hope to see ya then!

No comments:

Post a Comment